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      Carotid artery intima-media thickness in Behcet's disease patients without significant cardiovascular involvement

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          Behcet's disease (BD) is a systemic disorder associated with a characteristic vasculitis that can involve both veins and arteries of all sizes. Endothelial activation or injury is a characteristic feature of BD. Endothelial dysfunction is widely regarded as being the initial lesion in the development of atherosclerosis. The carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) is a widely accepted marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. We aimed to determine the carotid IMT in BD patients with using high-resolution B-mode Doppler ultrasonography.


          We studied 40 patients (24 males, mean age: 39.1±8.5 years) who were diagnosed by the international diagnostic criteria of Behcet's disease and 20 healthy controls (13 males, mean age: 40.2±5.1 years), and the two groups were matched by age and gender. No subject in either group had a history of atherosclerosis or its complications. The clinical data, including the age of onset, the duration of disease, a history of medication, the activity score and the laboratory data were analyzed.


          The carotid IMT in the BD group was significantly higher than that in the control group (0.71±0.22 mm vs. 0.59±0.09 mm, respectively, p<0.01). Cardiac and major vessel involvements were not identified in the BD group. However, minor vascular involvements were documented in 2 patients with deep vein thrombosis, in 4 patients with superficial thrombophlebitis and in 2 patients with pseudoaneurysm. The carotid IMT in the patients with posterior uveitis or retinal vasculitis was higher than that of the patients without these findings (0.85±0.21 mm vs. 0.64±0.10 mm, respectively, p=0.007), but there was no difference of the IMT according to minor vascular involvement.


          Despite that there was no significant cardiovascular involvement in the BD patients, the carotid IMT was significantly higher in the BD patients as compared with the healthy controls.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Intimal plus medial thickness of the arterial wall: a direct measurement with ultrasound imaging.

           A Poli,  P Oreste,  P Pignoli (1986)
          A study in vitro of specimens of human aortic and common carotid arteries was carried out to determine the feasibility of direct measurement (i.e., not from residual lumen) of arterial wall thickness with B mode real-time imaging. Measurements in vivo by the same technique were also obtained from common carotid arteries of 10 young normal male subjects. Aortic samples were classified as class A (relatively normal) or class B (with one or more atherosclerotic plaques). In all class A and 85% of class B arterial samples a characteristic B mode image composed of two parallel echogenic lines separated by a hypoechoic space was found. The distance between the two lines (B mode image of intimal + medial thickness) was measured and correlated with the thickness of different combinations of tunicae evaluated by gross and microscopic examination. On the basis of these findings and the results of dissection experiments on the intima and adventitia we concluded that results of B mode imaging of intimal + medial thickness did not differ significantly from the intimal + medial thickness measured on pathologic examination. With respect to the accuracy of measurements obtained by B mode imaging as compared with pathologic findings, we found an error of less than 20% for measurements in 77% of normal and pathologic aortic walls. In addition, no significant difference was found between B mode-determined intimal + medial thickness in the common carotid arteries evaluated in vitro and that determined by this method in vivo in young subjects, indicating that B mode imaging represents a useful approach for the measurement of intimal + medial thickness of human arteries in vivo.
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            Behçet's disease.

             T Sakane,  G Inaba,  M Takeno (1999)
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              Low grade inflammation and coronary heart disease: prospective study and updated meta-analyses.

              To assess associations between baseline values of four different circulating markers of inflammation and future risk of coronary heart disease, potential triggers of systemic inflammation (such as persistent infection), and other markers of inflammation. Nested case-control comparisons in a prospective, population based cohort. General practices in 18 towns in Britain. 506 men who died from coronary heart disease or had a non-fatal myocardial infarction and 1025 men who remained free of such disease until 1996 selected from 5661 men aged 40-59 years who provided blood samples in 1978-1980. Plasma concentrations of C reactive protein, serum amyloid A protein, and serum albumin and leucocyte count. Information on fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease was obtained from medical records and death certificates. Compared with men in the bottom third of baseline measurements of C reactive protein, men in the top third had an odds ratio for coronary heart disease of 2.13 (95% confidence interval 1.38 to 3.28) after age, town, smoking, vascular risk factors, and indicators of socioeconomic status were adjusted for. Similar adjusted odds ratios were 1.65 (1.07 to 2.55) for serum amyloid A protein; 1.12 (0.71 to 1.77) for leucocyte count; and 0.67 (0.43 to 1.04) for albumin. No strong associations were observed of these factors with Helicobacter pylori seropositivity, Chlamydia pneumoniae IgG titres, or plasma total homocysteine concentrations. Baseline values of the acute phase reactants were significantly associated with one another (P<0.0001), although the association between low serum albumin concentration and leucocyte count was weaker (P=0.08). In the context of results from other relevant studies these findings suggest that some inflammatory processes, unrelated to the chronic infections studied here, are likely to be involved in coronary heart disease.

                Author and article information

                Korean J Intern Med
                The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine
                The Korean Association of Internal Medicine
                June 2008
                20 June 2008
                : 23
                : 2
                : 87-93
                The Heart Center of Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Jong Chun Park, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Heart Center of Chonnam National University, Hospital, 8 Hak-Dong, Dong-Gu, Gwangju 501-757, Korea. Tel: 82-62-220-4764, Fax: 82-62-227-4760, jcpark@
                Copyright © 2008 The Korean Association of Internal Medicine
                Original Article


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